Harappan animal icons/inscriptions

Steve Farmer saf at SAFARMER.COM
Mon Aug 7 17:11:50 UTC 2000

Ferenc Ruzsa writes (on Marshall 252 and 378):

> Now Mahadevan in fact writes:
> "The two sides of 1252 (MIC 252 and 378) have the same text but different
> field symbols."
> So according to Mahadevan they are not two objects at all, but two sides of
> the *same* seal.
> Can somebody check?

So much for the "different animal/same inscription" argument in
this case. I missed this in Mahadevan and was misled by Marshall
1931, where the pictures of the two sides are shown in different
Plates. I have a note from M. Witzel that supports the idea that
they are opposite sides of the same object.

In light of what we've already found, Ferenc, does *any* evidence
remain of "different animals/same inscription" on separate seals?
The suggestions of this in Mahadevan's concordance on copper
plates, as you know, have turned out to be incorrect. Maybe my
original claim that the same inscriptions are always associated
with the same animals holds for separate seals? Any exceptions to
this rule might tell you a lot.

> If it is really one object, then one text (the *single* owner's - name???) can
> have two animals - two affiliations? A maternal and a paternal descent? A
> tribe and a position (e.g. in the king's service - the ubiquitous unicorn)?

Interesting conjectures. Has anyone ever closely studied the data
just on the two-sided seals? I'm not certain how many of them are

On inscriptions on "bossed" seals as names:

> I think there is nothing impossible or improbable in two persons of different
> tribes having identical names. You can have [in principle] a Lame Deer of the
> Sioux and of the Apache.
> On the other hand the texts probably cannot be names of professions - there
> are simply too many different words. If they are not just free text (like a
> family or personal motto), they should be names, I think. But not necessarily
> personal names: they might as well be clan or sub-clan names, or even
> designations of small areas/willages.

Again, good points. This said, do you think that the number of
duplicates of inscriptions on the "bossed" seals argue againstthe
personal name thesis, as I conjectured? You have a better idea of
how many duplicates of this sort are around than I do.

Steve Farmer

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